launching Workshop of the “Strategy for the Reform and Development of Public Administration in Lebanon.”

11 Oct 2011

Statement

By

Robert Watkins

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

 

On the occasion of the launching Workshop of the

“Strategy for the Reform and Development of Public Administration in Lebanon.”

 

 

 

 

11 October 2011

Grand Serai

Beirut- Lebanon

 

 

 

 

Excellency, Mr. Muhammad Fniech, Minister of State for Administrative Reform,

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here at this important event. On behalf of the UNDP, I would like to congratulate H.E. and his team at OMSAR for their efforts in turning this promising idea of reform of public administration in Lebanon into a developed strategy.

We have gathered here today to discuss this strategy and the means for its implementation, focusing in this session on two programmes identified under “transparency, accountability and Governance” and “developing the capacity of the public administration”.  But first of all, administrative reform aims to improve the performance of the public sector into a more efficient, effective and responsive sector on one hand,  and to provide citizens with the best services on the other hand. Nations from all parts of the world are coming to the conclusion that effective, efficient, and responsive governments are an essential basis for development of our economies and states.

A comprehensive and successful administrative reform plan depends on good governance and more participatory politics, and the key to public sector reform is to admit first that the public sector is at the service of people and accountable to them.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The challenge for UNDP in Lebanon, has been to take a systemic and strategic approach to governance that meets national priorities of state institutions so that they become more efficient, accountable and transparent for sound governance. At the same time, this requires a necessary pre-requisite of building the capacity of state institutions and key ministries to formulate and implement key reforms. Without neglecting the fact,  that effective reform requires political commitment from the government, and also the support of the private sector and civil society.

Lebanon, through OMSAR in particular, and with UNDP assistance, has developed two previous plans or strategies for administrative reform; one in 1994 and the second in 2001. Unfortunately, these two strategies were not implemented, and first of all there should be lessons learned as to why this happened? What was missing? What is different now? How to ensure effective implementation of this strategy?  

This current Strategy, however, employs a practical methodology of identifying the priorities and translating them into six action programmes. The first programme of Governance, Accountability, and Transparency aims at developing legislation, regulations and work flow mechanism to reduce corruption, provide access to information and manage public contracts. Many of these activities are directed to enhance the work of control agencies and increase internal control mechanism in key ministries such as Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Works and Transportation. Many of these activities were already identified in previous plans and even key draft legislations were prepared for their implementation but they were not implemented. Thus, in order to ensure a different path for this strategy this time, progress in this track should go hand in hand with progress in the other tracks, especially with the two other programmes of  the “Capacity Building of the Public Administration” and the program for the “Reform and Development of Human Resources Management”.  

The former aims at developing legislation and upgrading the roles and structure of public administration, introducing the new crucial missing functions of strategic planning, policy making and monitoring. That of course will require rehabilitation, new recruitmernt and continuous training programme of the public administration.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you all probably know, UNDP has been assisting the Lebanese government in various fields, including  in the field of Policy Advisory and Support Services, and for two decades now for some key ministries. UNDP has recently carried out an external evaluation of this modality and the recommendations will be shared with the Lebanese government soon.  For UNDP, the optimal support in Lebanon depends heavily on two factors: A successful civil service reform that takes into consideration the ability to recruit and retain highly qualified Lebanese human resources and the institutional capacity development of key governing institutions to plan, coordinate and implement key fiscal, economic, social and judicial reforms.

In both areas, OMSAR is a key partner for UNDP, and we will continue to work closely with OMSAR striving to obtain sufficient approval and support for these programmes of administrative reform, develop their operational plans for implementation as part of our joint project with OMSAR, and assist OMSAR as well as other ministries and public institutions with their effective implementation.

 

In conclusion, I thank you all for your hard work, and would like to especially thank Minister Fniech who has supported your efforts and ours to introduce strategic reform initiatives to enhance transparency, accountability and governance for sustainable Human development in Lebanon.